News Tag: Legal Aid Funding


December 3, 2015

Justice as a Discretionary Expense Where Did We Lose Our Way and How Can We Find Our Way Back?

Somewhere along the way from the time of our nation’s founding to today, the principle of justice for all went from being fundamental to who we are as Americans to something that is largely treated as a discretionary budget item at all levels of government. As a result, our nation’s promise of justice for all increasingly looks like an empty one to most Americans–and we all are losing something vital to our national identity in the process.

How did we lose our way on something so integral to who we are as Americans? And more importantly, how do we get ourselves back on track? While I don’t pretend to have all the answers, I do know this: it won’t just happen by itself. All of us in the legal community, both individually and collectively, need to use our influence by taking the lead in making this case to our elected officials and to the public.

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November 18, 2015

Take Action: Voice Your Support for Increased LSC Funding

With a recent agreement on the overall federal budget now signed into law, Congress will be finalizing details of next year’s budget over the next several weeks, including funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Please thank President Obama, Senators Durbin and Kirk, and your member of Congress for their support of LSC funding and […]

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October 30, 2015

Pro Bono Myths and Realities: Bar Associations, Foundations, Access to Justice Commissions, and Other Systemic Players

Part 6 of a 7-part series

As we reach the end of this year’s Pro Bono Week, it is time to look in the mirror at ourselves and our colleagues in the bar/funder/access to justice commission world as the last key pro bono stakeholder to discuss this week. While each of the other key players discussed earlier in this week’s series lawyers, firms and law departments; legal aid organizations; government; and the courts have distinct roles to play in the pro bono landscape, none of them operate in a vacuum. Bar associations, funders, commissions and other systemic players are well-positioned make all of the other key stakeholders more efficient and effective when we do our jobs well.

In carrying out our systemic responsibilities, there are several key things those of us with this vantage point can do to make pro bono the best it can be.

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October 29, 2015

Pro Bono Myths and Realities: The Role of Government

Part 4 of a 7-part series

As important as pro bono is to the larger efforts to ensure equal access to justice, the idea that it somehow could be a replacement for adequate funding for legal aid and other critical public service legal functions is terribly misguided. While pro bono indeed does play an integral role in the larger access to justice landscape, it is just one part of the larger solution.

Equal access to justice is one of our foremost principles as a nation, reflected in the fact that our founding fathers chose to establish justice at the start of the Constitution, and in the Pledge of Allegiance’s familiar refrain of liberty and justice for all. The promise of justice for all is an empty one without access to necessary legal assistance, and the laws our governments pass are meaningless if they are not applied equally. Access to quality legal assistance is absolutely essential to ensure that everyone receives the equal protections of our nation’s laws.

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April 21, 2015

CBF Represents at ABA Day

Last week, attorneys and staff members representing the CBA and CBF, the Illinois State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Illinois Supreme Court traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in ABA Day, the ABA’s annual advocacy event in Washington. Each year, Congress considers legislation that impacts access to justice, the justice system, and the legal profession. That’s why it’s vital that leaders in our legal community in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois participate in ABA Day each year, cutting through the noise of other special interests and educating Congress on important issues impacting access to justice for Illinois residents.

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January 5, 2015

Federal Legal Aid Funding Gets a Bump

Thanks to the leadership and strong support from Illinois legislators led by Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and Rep. Mike Quigley, the final 2015 appropriation for the federal government that was signed into law last month includes a modest increase in funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the entity through which federal funding for legal aid flows, and also meets the requested funding needs for the federal Judiciary.

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August 13, 2014

Your Support of the CBF Helps Thousands of Young Chicagoans Get DACA Protection

Since President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in June 2012, the CBF has played a lead role in mobilizing the local grantmaking community to provide special funding that already has helped thousands of young people in the Chicago area obtain protection under DACA.

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February 13, 2014

Circuit Court of Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program Renewed for Three More Years

The Cook County Board recently approved a three-year extension for the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program. The CBF and other partner organizations worked with the Circuit Court to develop and launch this innovative program in the Spring of 2010 to help homeowners resolve their foreclosure cases in the most fair and effective manner possible.

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January 21, 2014

Better Funding News for Legal Services Corporation and the Federal Courts

For the first time in years, the final budget agreement for 2014 that Congress just approved this week has some better news for both Legal Services Corporation (LSC) funding and funding for the federal courts (including the federal defender), two priority issues on which the CBF focuses its advocacy efforts. Because Congress has already agreed on the top line numbers for next year’s budget, this funding should also have some stability through 2015, a relief amid all the cuts and uncertainty of the last three years.

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